Battleground states looking grim for Obama?

posted at 10:05 am on July 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

National polls put Barack Obama in the mid-40s and slightly underwater, which could indicate trouble for him in 2012 — if the Presidency was won on a national popular vote.  (Ask Al Gore how that works out.)  National Journal took a look at polling in battleground states and sees a much bigger problem than national polls indicate:

In every reputable battleground state poll conducted over the past month, Obama’s support is weak. In most of them, he trails Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.  For all the talk of a closely fought 2012 election, if Obama can’t turn around his fortunes in states such as Michigan and New Hampshire, next year’s presidential election could end up being a GOP landslide.

Take Ohio, a perennial battleground in which Obama has campaigned more than in any other state (outside of the D.C. metropolitan region). Fifty percent of Ohio voters now disapprove of his job performance, compared with 46 percent who approve, according to a Quinnipiac pollconducted from July 12-18.

Among Buckeye State independents, only 40 percent believe that Obama should be reelected, and 42 percent approve of his job performance. Against Romney, Obama leads 45 percent to 41 percent—well below the 50 percent comfort zone for an incumbent.

The news gets worse from there.  In Michigan, a reliably Democratic state that Obama carried with 57 percent of the vote, an EPIC-MRA pollconducted July 9-11 finds him trailing Romney, 46 percent to 42 percent. Only 39 percent of respondents grade his job performance as “excellent” or good,” with 60 percent saying it is “fair” or “poor.” The state has an unemployment rate well above the national average, and the president’s approval has suffered as a result.

Obama also trails Romney in New Hampshire, getting edged by two points.  More worrisome for the White House is Obama’s standing in these states, and others like them.  Regardless of who the nominee is, having re-elect numbers in the low 40s is a clear sign that the state is up for grabs. And it’s not just these states, either.

If Michigan is in play — and it almost certainly will be — then Pennsylvania and Wisconsin probably are as well, and Indiana may already be lost.  That Rust Belt band played heavily into Obama’s victory in 2008.  Hillary Clinton Democrats, primarily white working-class voters, turned out for Obama in 2008, but those are the voters Obama is losing fastest in this cycle.  National Journal wonders whether Obama can hold Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia, but they miss North Carolina, where Obama’s standing has already shown to be crumbling, too.

Most presidential re-election runs have some element of defense to hold territory won in the previous election, but that may be the only strategy Obama can put in play.  Obama won the Electoral College handily in 2008, 365-173.  By flipping Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, and Wisconsin, Republicans edge Obama 295-243.  Swapping Florida for North Carolina still produces a 281-257 win for Republicans.  Winning Michigan and conceding Colorado makes it 288-250 Republicans.

You can bet that the Obama campaign is studying the map very, very carefully in order to see where they want to spend money, and it’s mostly going to go in that Rust Belt area.  Republicans should plan accordingly.  That could be the key to the entire election.

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I don’t want to just beat Barry, I want him to lose fifty zip.

In January 2013, I want Zero to move back to the mud hut he came from.

Mr. Grump on July 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

A billion dollars spent on one campaign? You have to remember that elections are even less about substance than they ever were. The One – Black – Liberal – pampered by the press; for Democrats to turn back would be to admit an error on choosing him in the first place. And he really has accomplished a lot – if not enough.

He took over GM and mandated electric cars. He made great strides in nationalizing the banking industry and health care industry. He won the PR war with finality on making all citizens wards of the state; when we pay your health bills, we can tell you what to eat. He appointed liberal judges to the Supreme Court. He freed the New Black Panthers. He’s empowering the staggering Unions. He’s shutting down ecologically damaging drilling everywhere. He’s advanced Liberal causes in every arena.

Seriously, he’s got a good liberal report card. Who cares if the economy tanks? With his record on the important stuff, and a billion dollars of ad campaigning, how could he possibly lose?

flicker on July 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

These polls always forget to add 3-5% to the Democrat gained from fraud. He has to lose 55-45 in order to lose 51-49. It will not be easy.

angryed on July 27, 2011 at 3:49 PM

flicker on July 27, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Right you are! Lots of great lefty programs passed! Healthcare! The enviroment! Union rights!

There is only one tiny problem.


You see it is too obvious right now that the grand programs are coming at the expense of our sacred standard of living.

People love to feel good but even the greens don’t want to tell people that we are gonna be living like Kenyans with no heat or A/C and riding about 75 on a bus to town after our economy is pasteurized and sanitized.

People don’t like the reality of socialism. Just the theory.

IlikedAUH2O on July 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

A couple of observations. At least on the reelect numbers, the question is if the election were held today, and the approval numbers are also a snapshot. So there are a couple other factors which come into play.

Obama will not be able to run as the charming guy who everyone can project their own image upon, imagining him as a uniter and compromiser, who can bring the exact “hope and change” each individual thinks he means. He has to run on his record, particularly his economic record.

Secondly, there is no indication recovery will be more robust at any time between now and the election. Obama’s anti-business policies and regulations and rhetoric have scared off businesses who might risk expansion because they have no way to project true costs even in the near term. And his fiscal mismanagement means there is little the government can do to change things – other than repeal everything he’s done so far.

So I expect his performance next November will be below the projections today, just as his performance in the White House has been below the projections of 2008.

Adjoran on July 28, 2011 at 12:50 AM